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Letters: History & tradition

November 19, 2012

I was blessed with a marvelous godfather figure/mentor/tormentor/friend in my pediatric dentistry specialty training (University of Connecticut, 1976-78). He was Dr. Cosmo R. Castaldi.

Dr. Castaldi taught me that one does not have to be a researcher to write a worthy paper for the dentistry literature. My first paper was a technique article about preformed stainless steel crowns for permanent teeth. It was published, with Dr. Castaldi as co-author, in the October issue of JADA, 1978. That was quite an ego boost for me and ignited my desire to contribute to our profession. Dr. Castaldi further encouraged me with this advice: "Discover things in dentistry that bother you, make them better, and document it all with some good writing and photographs." Little did he know that almost everything has bothered me over the years, and I have been compelled to act on Dr. Castaldi's advice.

Besides a couple of books, I have been fortunate to have a bunch of peer-reviewed papers published in various journals in our profession. I hope this doesn't sound like I'm bragging; I'm just trying to make a point regarding our Library.

I can't remember over the years NOT calling on the Library services staff for back-up assistance with my writings. By telephone, U.S. Mail and later via email, the rapid, gracious and eager-to-assist Library services staff have smoothed the way for me on dozens and dozens of projects. The accuracy and quality of all of that work has been enhanced because of the ADA Library services. I'm sure that many of our colleagues have experienced the same good fortune as I have in their own works.

Without our Library and its splendid services, who will be the caretaker of dentistry's history? I consider reduction or elimination of the Library services to be short-sighted, anti-academic, unscholarly and downright foolish. If money is the chief problem, tack on $25, $50 or $100 on to all members' annual dues. What would that be ... the cost of a couple sealants? Perhaps the cost of one prophylaxis?

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said it best: "There is nothing as terrible as ignorance in action."

I know that quotation well. Dr. Castaldi used it on me more than once.

Theodore P. Croll, D.D.S.
Doylestown, Pa.

See editor's note here.